Impetigo can be a contagious bacterial skin infection. Impetigo is most common in infants and children but can also infect adults. It can lead to sores that will eventually burst and then crust over.
People with impetigo may also develop deep ulcerations and blisters, which can be very painful. This condition is called ecthyma and can happen if impetigo goes untreated.
Although impetigo isn’t life-threatening or dangerous immediately if treated, it can quickly spread to other people. It can be a problem at schools or on sports teams.
It is possible to prevent impetigo from spreading, just as with other contagious skin conditions. Understanding the causes of this skin infection and who is at risk for it can help prevent it from spreading.
What are the most common causes of impetigo?
Impetigo is a superficial infection usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pneumonia. However, the staph bacteria can also be MRSA (a strain resistant to many antibiotics).
A cut, scrape or bite from an animal or insect can cause a skin infection.
There are other methods to get impetigo. This condition is contagious, and you could also get infected if you contact someone infected or if they touch or share items.
What are the main risk factors for impetigo that you should know?
Although impetigo can be spread by touching contaminated surfaces and objects, other factors increase the risk of this infection.
Impetigo can happen to anyone of any age, even teenagers. It is most common in children aged 2-5 years old.
A Close Proximity To Another Infection
Impetigo can spread quickly from skin-to-skin contact. This condition can be carried to other places if people have close contact. Schools and daycare centers are two examples. Impetigo can spread to other people at work and home.
Warm and humid weather
Impetigo is caused by bacteria that thrive in heat and humidity. This skin condition is more common in summer. There are also more cases of impetigo living in hot and humid areas. This condition is more common in the United States during the fall and summer.
Participation in sports
Impetigo isn’t more common in athletes. However, if you play contact sports with skin-to-skin or share sporting equipment, your chances of getting impetigo are higher. You will only contract impetigo from a skin injury or if you come into contact with someone who has it. Football and wrestling are two of the most dangerous sports.
Broken skin can also be an entry point for staph and strep bacteria. Good wound care is one of the best ways you can protect yourself. You should wash your wounds, apply a topical antibiotic cream, and keep them covered with an adhesive bandage, gauze, or tape until they heal.
How to Prevent Impetigo Spread
Impetigo prevention is not just about stopping the infection from spreading to other people.
Impetigo can be treated by itself. “Most impetigo can be treated with medication. However, some cases can go away in as little as two to three weeks,” Rick Pescatore (DO), chief physician at Delaware Division of Public Health.
He says that topical or mupirocin medication can help speed up the process and prevent secondary or recurrent infections that could complicate the initial episode.
It is essential to seek treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others. For impetigo, antibiotics are often used, especially topical. Injectable or oral antibiotics may be required for severe, widespread conditions.
Antibiotics take time to reach your body. You’ll be contagious for 24 to 48 hours after you start a course.
Here are some tips to help you avoid spreading impetigo among others and other parts of your body.